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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Sliced Ham and Spaghetti

November 29, 2015

Hello everyone!
I hope everyone had a good week of Thanksgiving! Black Friday was nutz this year!!! This Thanksgiving was definitely a little bit of a different Thanksgiving than what I'm used... In a good way :') No, I didn't get to eat Turkey, but I'm used to waking up every morning to roosters going crazy so that's something :') My Thanksgiving dinner this year consisted of a canned spaghetti and a canned ham heated up... Pretty good actually. Yes, the one day we didn't have a dinner appointment this week happened to be Thanksgiving. I guess it made me realize the REAL things I'm grateful for-- an eternal family, the gospel, and the opportunity to be on a mission. Not too bad ehhh? :')
It was a good week. Elder Musser and I were able to hit 25 lessons-- our highest lesson total since I've been here. This Saturday we should have a baptism. Iebeta is going to be baptized and we are really excited about it. He's 20ish and seriously was so prepared before we met with him. We also should have around 3 more baptisms this month if all goes as planned. All is well in Tab North.
This week we had a couple of interesting experiences. The first came when we went to do our first recent convert lesson with Atarake (baptized 2 weeks ago). During our lesson, (we were teaching the restoration), he FLIPPED. He started yelling and told us to not come back and that he wasn't from our church and that he "knows the truth" and that he doesn't have a testimony of Joseph Smith and just all these things. I haven't done many lessons but I don't think that's what you want from someone JUST baptized lolzzz. Someone could've literally shot me with a gun and I think the pain in my heart would've been the same. I think that's the first time I've really felt the pains of working with, teaching, and loving these people. It definitely rattles you a little bit when you hear those things. Slowly, he calmed down and came back from Mars or wherever his brain was holyyyyy. He went from saying he wasn't from the church, to never meeting us, to not going to church (it's held at his house), to not meeting with us for a year, to meeting with us this week <3 Hahah we are going to visit him again this Tuesday... Stay tuned :')
The other interesting experience is when we started lessons with a couple. Their mom is VERY Catholic and was really friendly until we started lessons with her kid and his wife. She left... When the lesson was over I went to shake her hand. I thought she said  "If you guys come back I'm deaf to everything you say" and just stuff like that. People are SO hardened sometimes... Everyone wants to talk to the white guys UNTIL they share the ONE THING they traveled to this countryto do. Goshhhhh. Someone play "Where Is the Love" By the Peas pleaseeee.
All in all, it was a good week. I guess if I had anything to say it would be look for SIMPLE opportunities to serve others. This week was Elder Musser's 20th birthday and I found the SIMPLEST ways to serve him on his b-day. I got his bucket of water for the shower and toilet, cooked breakfast and lunch, and gave him a simple Kiribati hat (see picture). As you guys probs know, we've struggled in the past hahah but it made such a BIG difference. Things are great right now-- all because I really LOOKED for SIMPLE opportunities to serve. Are we not all beggars (Mosiah 4:19). Yes, I'm a shining example of service <3 All in the spirit of Christmas :')
I hope everyone has a great week <3
Elder Parrish

Elder Parrish, Elder Musser, and the two Elder's from Tab South

Church Mwanaba (used for Christmas party etc.)

Elder Musser's birthday hat

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Campin' with the boys

November 22, 2015

Mauuuuuuuri Ngkami <3
This week was another good week. I'm staring to realize that pretty much every week is a good week as a missionary :') Crazyyyy that it's Thanksgiving this week... Plz enjoy turkey and gravy and be happy that it isn't turtle or eel okay?!

Hahah the funniest things happen every week... Having a guy who doesn't have any doors in his hut fix our doorknob (not sure how that adds up). I also am now rocking a nice buzz-cut <3 A guy promised to cut my hair before he had "work" so he woke me up before 6:30 ready to cut my hair. Unfortunately our solar power wasn't working so he just went to town with craft scissors. After he got half way done he had to go to work. I was wandering around half the day with my hair half cut. When we were about ready to get picked up by the boat I decided to take matters into my own hands heheh. I basically got my head shaved when he knocked on our door ready to finish <3 Looks like I might not be sending home pics of myself for a while!!
As I mentioned last week, this week Elder Musser and I were going to be heading down to Tab South. On Tuesday we took a small one engine boat and set out before sunset... Seriously one of the most beautiful and serene feelings. I felt SO close to heaven and so peaceful. It was our motorman, Elder Musser and I boating at sunset in perfect weather on an ocean of glass. I was thinking about my life and how of all the places I could be I'm traveling from 1 small island to another tiny island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Never have I felt smaller but never have I felt more like the Lord knew me perfectly. Of ALL the places in the world I could be I'm in Kiribati at this time. I didn't do much but keep the commandments and go on a mission. I haven't done much. If we can just do the best in the role that the Lord gives us, big or small, he'll do the rest!
Anywaysssss, we arrived to Tab South and were welcomed by Elders Ellis and Elder Tekangui on the beach. We went to our "family" that we stayed with last time and got settled in. The rest of the week was great. I went on splits with Elder Tekangui every day. Elder Tekangui is a 27 year old Kiribati elder who is a recent convert to the church of only 2 and a half years. He speaks little to no English so it was a fun week of progressing in the language. I feel like there was lots of progress to be made. One of my favorite things is working with different people and learning different things from every single person. Elder Tekangui had such an interesting perspective as a native Kiribati person and also as a former member of Catholic and Protestant churches. I also gained a newfound respect for my companion Elder Musser. 
Tab South truly is an awesome area... We were able to find lots as well as teach lots. The people there are SO interested and prepared for the gospel. We had people coming up to us asking if they could have lessons. That area is going to blow up with baptisms in no time. It was also great because of the smaller size... It required less biking. It couldn't be more different from Tab North. There are tiny roads that go every which way and you're in the middle of nowhere for 20 minutes at a time-- but I loved it <3
The last time that I was in Tab South I was so blown away by the living conditions... This time when I went these things that were blowing me away seemed normal... Sleeping on a mat on the buia in the open air without a mosquito net was great... Getting up in the morning to bike for 5 minutes to get cleaner (not clean lolz) water was no big deal. Even getting up at 5:30 to bike to buy some fresh bread was fun. We also worked on building the elders house down there... I was climbing around on the frame and nailing these crooked sticks they build with in place. Also, if anyone needs to know any part of the phases of a coconut's growth just ask me <3 
On Saturday, we hopped on a plane and took the 15ish minute plane ride bike up... It was a great week and went by WAY to fasttttt. I'm already looking forward to next month :')
Just think of it this way: Every day that passes is another way that my buzz cut grows a little longer <3 

I'm doing great...I hope everyone has a great week!

I tangaringkami ma nanou ni kabane! (I love you guys with all my heart!)

-Elder Bariti (Kiribati spelling whaaaaa)

Monday, November 16, 2015

Smooth Sallin'

November 16, 2015

Ahhhhhh, it's been a good week here in the Central Pacific. I hope it's been a good week for everyone back home <3 One of my favorite things is trying to explain to Kiribati people that when rain gets cold, it freezes and becomes a thing called "snow" (tino).... They're still working on getting that one. I hope you guys are coping with it a little better :')
First things first... I GOT A PACKAGE. WHAT'S GOOD AMERICA!?!? You got nothin' on me haha. I promise I have never been excited to see a yellow starburst (not even pink) :/ Hahah but I really felt SO blessed. Simple things... Every single day.

But YES, this week has been a GREAT week. My favorite week in Tab North by far. It has been overcast every day with a little bit of rain, making the large amounts of biking more bearable. When you add in a little bit of that ocean breeze I think that "paradise" would be a good word to describe it. This week, Elder Musser and I have been working hard-- as usual. Our week started off a little bit slow. To be honest, I was a little sad for the first few days. I felt like we were working really hard but weren't seeing the fruits of our labors. I was feeling like I wasn't helping people and wasn't improving this area... Slowly but surely the week got better and better. The culmination was on Saturday when Atarake was able to enter the waters of baptism. I had the sacred privilege of being able to confirm him a  member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in my broken Kiribati yesterday at his home where 1 of the sacraments is held up North. His simple testimony after his baptism was so rewarding and made me smile so big. This gospel brings such joy.
As for our investigators, things are going well. 14 PI's and we currently have 4 set for dates in December if everything goes well. This week we were able to pick up an investigator named Iebeta who just came to Tab. On the island that he was on previously, he was almost finished with the lessons. We are hoping to get him baptized before he returns. Tekea is working courageously to stop his smoking. Motirae and Bwebwe are two teenage studzzzz.
Yesterday was my favorite Sunday here by far. I love the small sacrament meetings that we are able to attend in the homes of members. I guess they really take to heart "home is where the heart is" lol. It's awesome when we are able to partake of the sacrament with a smaller group (20ish) people and then after get called upon to give talks and to "not know beforehand the things that we should say." We were able to do that in 2 homes yesterday <3 I'm quickly learning that teaching (with the spirit) is the key to a happy and a successful mission. Gosh I'm just happy like i can't explain it hahaha.
ANYWAYS, I'm going to STAY happy because this is going to be a GREAT week. We are taking a boat tomorrow to Tab South. We will stay there until Saturday when the plan is to fly back. It should be great to see the elders down there and to be able to help the work progress in that area as well. I'm excited to go on splits with a straight Kiribati elder.. I'll report back on my Kiribati (prayers accepted hahaha) <3
I'm typing the close to this email while staring at the ocean, palm trees and feeling a breeze. I'm doing a "service project" in the water right now so I gotta go hahah LOVE YOU GUYS. Sled or something (if that's still a thing?!) <3
Elder Parrish 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Gone Swimmin' Take 2

November 8, 2015


This week has FLOWNNNN by-- it's starting to form a trend. However, it's been a great week! I continue to slowly progress in the language and in developing charity and love for these people. How is everyone doing?! To start off this email I need to give a quick S/O to the best sis in the world... Happy birthday tomorrow to my BFF Linds! Always been the best listener and friend in the world. Only one more November 10th and I'll be home... Kinda scary. Everyone be sure to give my gurl Linds some love tomorrow as well as everyday <3

As the subject says... This week I went swimming...again. Sadly, we didn't have any baptisms this week. Let me explain:

Around a month ago a coconut tree fell and hit the Church mwaneaba (used for the Christmas and Easter parties etc.). It fell down, and with Christmas coming up the Elder's Quorum decided that we needed to get started on rebuilding it. It was decided that we were going to go to an "etimwakoro" (deserted little island) close to Tab North on foot at "ora" (low tide) and "koro kai" (cut trees) down for the mwaneaba's pillars. So, on Saturday, we left at 6 in the morning when the truck woke us up outside our house. There were 13 of us total who drove to the edge of the island and walked on foot for an hour or two to this small deserted island. We cut some trees and then were prepared to come back after pounding some coconuts and coconut meat... There was one problem... It was "iabuti" (high tide). Hahah to make a long story short, I spent the next 3 hours in water up to my shoulders in a lot of places making the tiring trek back. For some reason I also thought it appropriate to bring my backpack with my books and everything. We got the trees back by tying them with ropes and coconuts to make them float. Let's just say my hair didn't stay dry... Hahah there were some pretty solid waves that came and took me under.. It was a SLOW process. I FINALLY got to swim and it wasn't all that I had ever hoped it would be :/ jk it was pretty awesome. If anyone is wondering, the water and sand in the middle of the Pacific Ocean feels WONDERFUL. Hope you guys are all enjoying winter and the SNOW LOLZ <3 I'm planning the same service project for this next weekend :') 

As far as the rest of this week, it was a lot of the same. The best experience happened in our lesson with Atarake. Atarake has been finished with his lessons for a while and has stopped smoking but didn't feel ready for baptism and especially for receiving the priesthood. He didn't know if he had a testimony. Last week we had a lesson with him where we read in the BOM in 3 Nephi 11. When we met with him this week he told us that when we taught him something pierced his heart. He wants to be able to be with his family forever. When he prayed he felt peace and comfort and now knows that this church is true. He asked when he could be baptized. He is on for this Saturday and we are pretty excited about it ;') 

This week we are going to keep working hard and hope that we can continue to find and grow with the people that we have! We are going to stay one more week in Tab North before heading down to Tab South next week for a short 5 day trip. All is GOOOOOOOD (Kiribati Flag Emoji WHAA).

Really Quick Spiritual Thought:

When I opened my call I thought that Kiribati would be perfect. I will be FORCED to be humble (I've always had a problem with pride lolz). This will be SO great to live in a 3rd world country for 2 years and to come back humble. It's really hit me recently when I read the scriptures in Alma 32: 13-16. It says something like "blessed are those who are humbled without being compelled to be humble". That hit me like the coconut tree hittin' the mwaneaba. We can all be humble given our circumstances and no matter where we are. Humility is definitely something I've been trying to improve on... Not just because I live in Kiribati and don't have the best living conditions all the time. 

Have an average week!!!!

Elder Parrish

Before high tide

Our humble abode


Sunday, November 1, 2015

Gone Swimmin'

November 1, 2015

MAURI MAU-- Who am I kiddin' I still suck at Kiribati.
BUT... How is everyone!? As you can probably tell from the subject, either 2 things happened this week. Either I was a highly disobedient and went swimming (it's highly tempting), or I had my FIRST baptism <3 I'm proud to say that it was the latter :') It's crazy to think that it was Halloween this weekkkk. Mine and Elder Musser's Halloween consisted of buying 8 suckers and 2 sticks of gum <3 TRICK OR TREAT. 

As I said, this week I had the opportunity of performing my first baptism. On Saturday (Halloween) I was able to brink Tebaaia Nakebwe to the waters of baptism. It was an awesome experience. We went to his house at 4:00 (when the tide was right), and held a small baptismal service on their buia. Elder Musser and I both gave talks on Baptism and the Holy Ghost. We then proceeded to walk across the street to the ocean where I performed the Baptism. What a great feeling <3 Definitely one of those things you don't feel yourself gettin' used to. Also they might need to add it to the Word of Wisdom because it might have a little bit of an addictive nature :') 
As for the rest of this week, it was solid. We were able to see the 2 elders headed to Tab South off on Wednesday. We found out that there is a new district in the mission called the "Tabiteuea District" with Elder Musser serving as DL. This basically means that for 4 or 5 days a month we will fly down to Tab South and go on splits and training's with the Elder's down there. I'm excited about that.
Unfortunately, this week was our lowest lesson total since being here. We still hit 20 lessons but it was a tough week. It consisted of a lot of biking in the HOT sun (don't ask about the chaffing lolz) and some fallen appointments and even a couple lost investigators. However, the Lord has a way of providing new investigators when new investigators are needed. We have about 5 people that we have found or received this past week that we hope to start lessoning with this week. We are super excited <3

Also, with Christmas only a few months away and the shipping here a little sketchy I'm going to go ahead and give my Christmas List :')

-Mini Fridge
-Pocket A/C
-Water bottle that can make any drink cold <3
But for reals, after having a rainy few weeks it has been BLAZING hot. It's a constant battle of leaving behind WANTS for things I actually NEED. I have a tan line on my fingers from where they curl to hold the bike handles haha. We had a service project this week that consisted of digging holes to place tree trunks in for a man named Timoteo's. I wanted to die. I just felt TRAPPED by the heat. It's 24/7, 365, for the next 2 years. There are so many times where I'm like HOW but then I start to think... I'm alive-- I'm hot, but I'm not going die. There's no cold water, but there's water.
All in all, it was a solid week :') A baptism and some new people to teach. Another week in the books that I'll never get back. 1 day at a time. 
I hope everyone has a great week! As I improve in the language and continue to adjust to the culture and climate, i feel myself catching glimpses of falling in love with this place. This is the best thing I could ever be doin' and I'm grateful for the all the support! I hope everyone has a great week <3
-Elder Parrish